The Greg One is very excited about this weekend. Over the course of the year, this particular weekend comes in at number three on the charts right behind Super Bowl weekend and birthday weekend. (Birthday is March 2nd for any of you who want to send belated birthday gifts to your favorite columnist…) This weekend is WRESTLEMANIA weekend! Stop rolling your eyes. I’ve been watching pro wrestling since I was a little Greg One and certain things become tradition when they’re ingrained at an early age. This is one of those things. My father worked at the fairgrounds where they performed in the 80’s and my little brother and I were fanatics by age 7. Being sons of a well-known and widely respected employee we were allowed to play in the ring, meet the wrestlers and sit ringside at almost every event. Those guys are good, humble, hard-working and spectacular athletes. Doesn’t matter if the outcome is scripted, it is the highest level of theatre. Beyond summer blockbuster action movies, these events create an energy that meets or beats the Super Bowl, NBA playoffs or the World Series. (And regular joes like us can still afford a ticket, unlike the Super Bowl.) So in honor of the spectacle that is Wrestlemania, The Greg One presents the NFL matchups that most closely resemble the five star matches we (or at least I) will witness on Sunday.
The main event of Wrestlemania is a one time only showdown between The Rock and John Cena. Both are the two biggest stars in the WWE galaxy. Ths subplots and storylines run wild and its easy to see the outcome going either way. The Greg One’s fearless prediction is Cena wins and Rock goes back to Hollywood to make more movies. Unless Rock is coming back to wrestle full time, there is no point in him winning because he will be back off the air two weeks later for another infinity. This is Rock’s first head to head singles match in seven years. Even though its in Rocks’ hometown of Miami, there is a lot more ways to spin Cena winning than Rock winning and riding off into the sunset. Again.
The NFL’s main event this season will be the New Orleans Saints vs. Roger Goodell. Goodell smacked down the Saints organization hard for their bounty program with the most significant decision being suspending Saints coach Sean Payton for a year. Can the Saints overcome the crippling blows and show they can play by the rules? Will Drew Brees use this as motivation and lead the Saints to a Super Bowl win? Storylines and subplots by the dozen. This will be the subject of headlines all season long and it will be interesting to see how the Saints respond.
The co-main event of Wrestlemania is the End of an Era cage mach pitting Triple H vs. The Undertaker who is undefeated at Wrestlemania. The two are legends, the last true gladiators in an age where the new stars are more prone to more acrobatic maneuvers. These two are the smash mouth, 50’s to 70’s NFL. Undertaker is undefeated at Wrestlemania, going 19-0 and ‘The Streak’ match is the one moment of the show where not a fanny leaves the seat. Add in the last man the Undertaker retired at Wrestlemania in a Streak vs. Career match two years ago in Shawn Michaels as special guest referee and this match is bound to steal the show. My fearless prediction is Triple H gives the Undertaker his first and only loss and all three walk off into the sunset (and retirement) together.
The NFL co-main event will be Peyton Manning vs. Philip Rivers. Manning will draw headlines every week. The only guaranteed major game we all know of and will be salivating over is the Broncos two meetings against Philip Rivers and the Chargers. Peyton Manning is at the end of his era and Rivers is entering his prime so its not exactly two warriors making their final stand but this is as Titanic a divisional battle as there will be all season if Manning can stay healthy (which isn’t a given…yet). The winner will be determined by which team wins the West. My prediction is…if you can’t figure that out by now you’ve already forgotten what website you’re on. As much as I love Peyton Manning, even he can’t turn the Broncos water into wine. Who’s the special referee? Well, it is the Broncos vs. Chargers and the ref has the potential to unfairly swing the outcome so it has to be Ed Hochuli.
One of the two heavyweight championship match features C.M. Punk vs. Chris Jericho. C.M. Punk is the newest and latest anti-hero, the alternative equivalent of Stone Cold Steve Austin. Punk is the in your face, loud, enigmatic, controversial rebel the fans love. Chris Jericho was the original version of the same prototype. Both are great talkers intent on one-upping the other. This match also has barnburner written all over it. Fearless prediction? The villain wins and Jericho takes the gold from the champion.
The NFL equivalent has to be Rex Ryan vs. Bill Bellichick. Ryan is most similar (in name and demeanor) to Punk while Bellichick has the menacing, sneering, snarky, and condescending attitude resembling Jericho. Who wins? The original villlain of the piece, Bellichick.
The second world championship pits the highly annoying, cheat at all costs to win Daniel Bryan against the villain turned favorite, Sheamus. Everyone would love to see Sheamus destroy the conceited Bryan but The Greg One predicts the villain winning again and Bryan finding one more way to annoy the audience and defeat the odds-on favorite.
The NFL equivalent of this match will be Tim Tebow (representing Bryan) vs. Mark Sanchez, who doesn’t quite fit the Sheamus role but close enough. Over the course of this season Sanchez will lose the locker room, the fans and his job to the black cloud that is Tim Tebow. Its inevitable. Sanchez is doomed and the Jets go nowhere with either quarterback.
So BoltBeat-a-maniacs, there is your Wrestlemania tribute as it relates to the best of this season’s NFL matchups. Shout out to Vince McMahon for giving us another great reason for staying home, firing up the grill and gathering friends. Thank you for driving the american economy by charging a price that is too high but we buy anyway because it is always worth it. Thank you for adding an extra holiday for pizza delivery drivers everywhere. This day, we give thanks. Amen.